Friday, October 31, 2008

Mad Dogs and Halloween

Well, it's Halloween and a nice little Frankenstein-Dracula variation (1 e4, e5 2 Nc3, Nf6 3 Bc4, Nxe4!?) in the Vienna Game seems appropriate. But I've never played that line. (I could offer up a nice Evans Gambit from the days when I opened games with 1.e4--but that wouldn't fit the season). So how about a couple of mad dogs. I cooked this (obviously unsound) line up several decades ago.

  Purser,Tom - Giles,T Stuttgart, 1980 BDG, Bogoljubov Defense, Mad Dog Attack [D00]

  1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.h4?!
The h-pawn as mad dog. Black has a number of easy refutations, but I still won correspondence games with it before the days of computer analysis. This game was played in the first round of an OTB tournament. 7...0-0 8.h5 Nxh5 9.Rxh5 gxh5 10.Qd3 e5 11.Ng5 e4 12.Qxe4 Bf5 13.Qxf5 Qe7+ 14.Ne2 Rd8 15.Bxf7+ Kf8 16.Nxh7# 1-0

 A correspondence game from the same year:

 Purser,Tom - Szasz,Charles Correspondence, 1980 BDG, Bogoljubov Defense, Mad Dog Attack [D00] 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.h4 Bf5
8.Ne5 0-0 9.g4 Be4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Nxf7 Rxf7 12.Bxf7+ Kxf7 13.Qf3+ Nf6 14.g5 Qxd4 15.gxf6 exf6 16.Qb3+! Kf8 17.Be3 Qe5 18.0-0-0 Nc6 19.Rd5 Qe4 20.Bc5+ Ke8 21.Rhd1 Rb8 22.Rd8+
Black has no defense against 23. Qg8+ 1-0

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Outgrowing the BDG

By Rick Kennedy In his introduction to Blackmar Diemer Gambit, Master Eric Schiller writes that playing the BDG might increase your middle game ability, but it probably will not affect your rating. Going even further, he suggests that Blackmar-Diemer Gambit players will eventually “outgrow” their opening. That last comment may come as a surprise to some of you. Outgrow, indeed! For many of us, it has been and will always be, “in for a pawn, in for a pound.” Or, for Black, “a pounding. Besides, look at Diemer and Gunderam, in the fourth quarter of a century of living, and still battling it out. You might suspect that only eight feet of German soil will cause either of them to “outgrow” the BDG. If then. Perhaps, though, we can make some sense out of Schiller by recalling a comment from Kotov’s classic, Play Like a Grandmaster. In looking at attitudes shown toward the opening, Kotov mentions “ideas men.” These are players who are near the end of their careers, “when they lack the stimulus or ambition to make them work through current analysis of openings that they may have been keenly interested in their youth.” Perhaps “tired men” would also fit. The young player looks at this opening as one does a sports car, expecting high performance and continuous excitement. To that end, he is willing to keep up with the constant tune—ups, modifications, and overhauls needed to keep it in top running order. The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is a hot little number, but its Owner’s Manual has always cautioned, “for every refutation that the Black side recommends, improvements are found for White. For every White initiative, a better defense always seems to present itself for Black.” This can at times require a lot of work, however, and some players, at some point, might rather not. As we get older, might it not just be easier to send it to the shop for someone else to work on? Why not trade it in for a used station wagon and be done with it? Sigh. Gasp. Wheeze. Perhaps that is what Schiller means. Even so, I contest the notion!!! Some day it may well be discovered that the BDG was originally unearthed by Ponce de Leon, searching for the chessic “fountain of youth.” All who partook of its waters remained vibrant, dynamic and energetic, to the end of their days. They never became tired, “ideas” men. And regardless of their age, they always played for mate, from the first move. Rick wrote this for BDG World 30, published in March 1988, which explains the reference to Diemer and Gunderam, both now deceased, as being in their fourth quarter of life. These days Rick has a thing going for the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+). Check out his blog, called, appropriately enough, Jerome Gambit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More on Blackmar

Today is the 120th anniversary of the death of Armand Edward Blackmar (30 May 1826 - 28 Oct 1888). We've previously posted a short Blackmar bio and some of his games here. Blackmar was a contemporary of Paul Morphy's good friend, Charles A. Maurian. In fact, Blackmar and Maurian were founding members, in 1880, of the New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club. Its first informal meeting, on July 21st, was called to order by none other than A. E. Blackmar, and the membership proceeded to elect as its first president Charles A. Maurian. When Blackmar's first games with his gambit were published in Brentano's Chess Monthly in July 1882, they were accompanied by the following game: Maurian,Charles A - Daponte,D New Orleans, 1882 Blackmar Gambit [D00] 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.f3 Nf6 4.fxe4 Nxe4 5.Bd3 f5 6.Bxe4 fxe4 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qe5 Nc6 9.Qxh8 Nxd4 10.Bh6 Nxc2+ 11.Kf2 Qd1 12.Qxf8+ Kd7
13.Nf3 Qxh1 14.Ne5+ Kd6 15.Nc3 Qxa1 16.Qd8+
16...Ke6 [16...Kxe5 17.Qd5+ Kf6 18.Nxe4#] 17.Qd5+ Kf6 18.Nd7+ Bxd7 19.Nxe4# 1-0

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Man in the Arena

Two items of note this day:
1) Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Theodore Roosevelt, one of our great presidents.

2) Today Kramnik won the 10th game of the World Championship match with Anand. He is now two points behind with only two games to play. Not good odds, but better than three points behind with three games to play!
In honor of Roosevelt, Kramnik, Anand, and chessplayers everywhere, we recall this passage from Roosevelt's classic speech, "The Man in the Arena."
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Howard Stern, Gambiteer

Although I've never met a gambit I didn't like (just some more than others), I've never played the Budapest Countergambit. However a friend and contributor to my magazine BDG World, Niels Jørgen Jensen, wrote the first book exclusively devoted to the Fajarowicz-Gambit (his title), so I've had a bit more than a passing interest in the opening. Now comes the news that non other than the so-called shock jock Howard Stern, a student of the game, plays the Budapest Countergambit. Look here: Anonymous (1900) - Stern,Howard (1600) Blitz Internet Chess Club, 2008 Budapest Countergambit [A51] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5
3.d5 Bc5 4.h3 Bxf2+ 5.Kxf2 Ne4+ 6.Kf3 Qh4
7.g4 f5 8.gxf5 Rf8 9.Ke3 Rxf5
10.Nf3 Qf4+ 11.Kd3 Nf2+ 0-1
Oh my! You can play through this game with analysis by Michael Goeller at his blog, The Kenilworthian.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Transpositions: From the Caro-Kann to the BDG (Update)

In my last post I gave the opening moves of the game von Hennig - van Nüss, a transposition from the Caro-Kann to the Blackmar-Diemer. Here's the complete score.

von Hennig,Heinrich - van Nüss,Alfred
Caro-Kann to BDG, Euwe Defense

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 e6 7.0-0 Be7

8.Qe2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 0-0 10.Rad1 Nb6 11.Bb3 Nbd5 12.Be5 Bd7 13.Ng5 Be8 14.Rd3 Nxc3 15.bxc3 h6 16.Nh3 g6 17.Rg3 Nd7 18.Bf4 Kg7 19.Qd2 Rh8 20.Be3 Qa5 21.Nf4 Nf8 22.d5 h5 23.Bd4+ f6 24.d6!

24...Bxd6?? The passed d-pawn will prove decisive, but taking it would be disastrous. 25.Bxf6+ Kg8 (25...Kxf6?? 26.Nxg6+) 26.Qxd6+-
25.Nxe6+ Nxe6 26.Bxe6 c5 27.Be3 h4 28.Rgf3 Bc6 29.Bd5 Rh5 30.Bxc6 bxc6 31.Qf2 Qxa2? 32.Rxf6 Bxf6 33.Qxf6+ Kh7 34.Qe7+ Kh8 35.d7 Qg8
35...Rf5 36.d8Q+ Rxd8 37.Qxd8+ Kg7 38.Rxf5 gxf5 39.Qg5++-
36.Bg5 Rxg5 37.Qxg5 Qd5

38.Qh6+ 1-0
Simpler was 38.Qxd5 cxd5 39.Re1
While searching for the complete score today I came across one of my old games with this variation. Indulge me.

Purser,Tom (1780) - Lewie,David (2030)
American Legion Open
Fairborn, Ohio, 1981
Caro-Kann to BDG, Euwe Defense

1.d4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Bc4 e6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Nf6 7.0-0 Be7

So far as in the previous game.
8.Qe1 Nbd7 9.Bd3 c5 10.Qg3 cxd4 11.Nb5 Kf8 12.Nc7 Nh5 13.Nxe6+ fxe6 14.Nxd4+ Ndf6 15.Qh4 g6 [15...e5] 16.Bh6+ Ng7 17.Nf3?! Kg8 18.Ne5 Nf5?

19.Rxf5! exf5??
Allows a forced mate. Best was 19...Nd5 20.Rg5+/-
20.Bc4+ Nd5 21.Bxd5+ Qxd5 22.Qxe7 1-0

Monday, October 13, 2008

Transpositions: From the Caro-Kann to the BDG

One well-known transposition to the Blackmar-Diemer comes via the Caro-Kann. In Georg Studier's 1966 biography of E. J. Diemer he discusses the scarcity of Blackmar-Diemer Gambit games during the first three decades of this century, and fills the gap with a few such transpositions. As his earliest example he gives this game: V. Hennig - van Nüss (where?) 1929 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 e6
The position reached occurs in the Euwe Defense to the BDG after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bc4 c6. (This actually also reaches a line in the Ziegler Defense (5...c6) to the BDG a half-move earlier--the Ziegler is such a chameleon, transposing into many of the more common BDG variations.) "The game ended on the 38th move with a White victory," writes Studier, giving no more moves. His source was Rolf Schwarz in Band 22 of his Handbuch der Schacheroeffnungen, 1966 edition (Schach-Archiv, Hamburg). In my database I find an earlier example of this transposition: von Hennig - Carls Goteborg II (7), 1920 Caro-Kann to BDG Euwe Defense [B15] 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Ne5 Nbd7 9.Qe2 0-0 10.Be3 Qc7 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.Rad1 Nd5 13.Bg3 N7f6 14.Bh4 Be7 15.Rd3 Ne8 16.Bg3 Qd8 17.Rdf3 f5 18.Nxd5 cxd5 19.Bd3 Nf6 20.Bh4 Nd7 21.Nxd7 Bxd7 22.Bxe7 Qxe7 23.Bxf5 Qd6 24.Bd3 g6 25.Qe5 Qxe5 26.Rxf8+ Rxf8 27.Rxf8+ Kxf8 28.dxe5 Kg7 29.h4 h6 30.Kf2 g5 31.Kg3 Be8 32.Kg4 gxh4 33.Kxh4 Bf7 34.g4 ½-½ I presume the players in this game were Heinrich von Hennig (1883-1947) and Carl Johan Margot Carls (1880-1958). (The dates are from Jeremy Gaige's invaluable Chess Personalia.) I think the same v. Hennig plays White in both games.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Not Much Literature on the BDG?

Now and then I google "Blackmar-Diemer" to see what might turn up. Today I came across a short article from July of this year by Ronan Bennett in The Guardian.
"There's not much literature on the BDG. [my emphasis] John Cox has a short and dismissive chapter in Dealing with d4 Deviations (Everyman Chess), and while Gary Lane's out-of-print Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (Batsford) makes more of an effort to sell the opening, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the BDG is a pretty risky undertaking."
Now since Bennett is an accomplished novelist, ordinary writing probably must meet high standards to make his list as literature. However, there has certainly been much written on the BDG. Here's my incomplete list:
Chess Digest. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. 1977 edition. Dallas, Texas: Chess Digest Magazine, 1977. Diebert, Charles. The Blackmar-Diebert Gambit. Diemer, Emil Josef. Vom ersten Zug an auf Matt! funfundzwanzig Jahre Erfahrungen mit dem Blackmar-Diemer-Gambit. Amsterdam: Ten Have, 1957. This is the original edition of Diemer's book. Diemer, Emil Josef. Das moderne Blackmar-Diemer-Gambit. Heidelberg: Schachverlag Rudi Schmaus, 1976-1983. This is a reprint of Diemer's Vom Ersten Zug... above. Dommett, Alan. Emil Josef Diemer 1908-1990 A Life Devoted to Chess, The Book Guild, Ltd., 2003. Freidl, Alfred. Das moderne Blackmar-Diemer-Gambit, Band 2. Heidelberg: Schachverlag Rudi Schmaus, 1978. This is a general survey of the BDG, organized in chapters by variation. Freidl, Alfred. Das moderne Blackmar-Diemer-Gambit, Band 4. Heidelberg: Schachverlag Rudi Schmaus, 1983. Covers 5...g6, the Bogoljubov Defense, and 5...e6, the Euwe Defense. Gunderam, Gerhart. Neue Eröffnungswege. Berlin: Siegfried Engelhardt-Verlag, 1961. Gunderam, Gerhart. Neue Eröffnungswege II. Berlin: Siegfried Engelhardt-Verlag, 1972. Gunderam, Gerhart. Supertaktik modernen Gambitspiels. Düsseldorf: Schachverlag Manfred Mädler, 1980. Gunderam, Gerhart. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Düsseldorf: Edition Mädler im Rau, 1986. Harding, T. D. Colle, London and Blackmar-Diemer Systems. London: B. T. Batsford, 1979. Hergert, Volker. Die O'Kelly-Verteidigung im Blackmar-Diemer-Gambit. Dusseldorf: Schachverlag Manfred Mädler, 1993. Hodgson, Julian GM. Trends in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. [London]: Trends Publications, 1995. Jensen, Niels Jorgen. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Copenhagen: Dansk Skakforlag/Skakhuset, 1985. Kunath, Emil. Der Sneiders-Angriff im Lemberger Gegenangriff. Ludwigshafen: Volker Drüke, 1986. Lane, Gary, IM. The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Batsford chess library. New York: H. Holt, 1995. Pape, Rasmus; Jensen, N. J.; Burk, Dietrich. Hübsch Gambit. Copenhagen: Eleprint, 1991. Purser, Tom. Blackmar Diemer Gambit Correspondence Tournament. Warner Robins, Georgia: Blackmar Press, 1991. Purser, Tom. The Langeheinecke Defense to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Warner Robins, Georgia: Blackmar Press, 1991. Purser, Tom and Tejler, Anders. Blackmar, Diemer & Gedult. Headland, Alabama: Blackmar Press, 1991. Sawyer, Tim. The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook. Davenport, Iowa: Thinkers' Press, 1992. Sawyer, Tim. The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: Keybook II. Wylie, Texas: Pickard & Son, 1999. Schiller, Eric. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Coraopolis, Pennsylvania: Chess Enterprises, 1986. Schiller, Eric. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: Bogoljubow Variation 5-- g6. Moon Township, Pennsylvania: Chess Enterprises, 1995. Schiller, Eric, and Crayton, John. The Ryder Gambit Accepted. Moon Township, Pennsylvania: Chess Enterprises, 1995. Sénéchaud, Dany. Emil Joseph Diemer: missionnaire des échecs acrobatiques. Poitiers, France, 1997. Smith, Ken. Winning with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Dallas, Texas: Chess Digest, 1993. Stevens, Arthur M. A statistical analysis in chart form of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: (1. P-Q4, P-Q4, 2. P-K4, PxP, 3. N-QB3) based on 490 tournament games by the world's greatest players. San Diego, California: Chess Charts, 1964. Studier, Georg. Das moderne Blackmar-Diemer-Gambit, Band 3. Heidelberg: Schachverlag Rudi Schmaus, 1980. Probably the most objective of the Schmaus series, this volume covers 5...Bf5, the Tartakower/Gunderam Defense. Studier, Georg. Emil Joseph Diemer: Ein Leben für das Schach im Spiegel seiner Zeit. Dresden: Schachverlag Manfred Mädler, 1996. A brutally frank biography of Diemer by a good friend. Tejler, Anders. Discover the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Dallas, Tex.: Chess Digest, 1970-73 (4 pamphlets). Tejler, Anders. The Euwe Defense: Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.: Chess Enterprises, 1979. Tejler, Anders. Euwe Defense: Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Moon Township, Pennsylvania.: Chess Enterprises, 1995. Wall, Bill. 500 Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Miniatures. Moon Township, Pennsylvania.: Chess Enterprises, 1999.
In this list I don't even include many works, such as "Dealing with d4 Deviations" mentioned by Bennett and other such "system" or repertoire books which devote chapters or sections to the BDG. Nor do I mention numerous periodicals such as Diemer's original Blackmar Gemeinde, Kampars' Opening Adventures, Drüke's BDG Revue, or my own BDG World. I will agree with Bennett on one point. The BDG is a pretty risky undertaking.

Friday, October 10, 2008

E. J. Diemer, RIP

Today is the eighteenth anniversary of Diemer's death. After receiving the news of his passing I wrote this tribute, which surveys commentary in German newspapers and chess magazines. It originally appeared in the January 1991 issue of BDG World.

The notice in Schach Echo was brief. On a page with other "short reports from all the world" a single paragraph announced that "on 10 October [1990] the well-known Baden chess theoretician and tournament player, Emil Josef Diemer, died in south Baden Fußbach at the age of 82. ... born on 15 May 1908 in Bad Radolfzell ... work best known to many gambit friends... contributed authoritatively through his exploration of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit."

Should we have expected more from a "serious" chess magazine? Probably not. But notices in other German chess magazines were more generous. In a two-page article in Schach Woche Gerald Schendel printed two of Diemer's games, acknowledging his service to chess and that "the legacy of EJD endures in his Blackmar-Diemer Gambit."

Schach Magazin 64 reprinted the combination from his game with Kotek that appears in the Encyclopedia of Middlegames - Combinations "In Emil Josef Diemer one of the last 'chess originals' left us. In chess generally and in gambit play especially, to which he dedicated his entire life, his ardent, shining life was fulfilled."

In a long article in Europa-Rochade, Jürgen Gegner wrote, "In Master Diemer German chess loses one of its most significant personalities... We mourn a man who understood like no other how, with his own enthusiasm, to win youth to chess, to 'his' chess, where beauty and combination counted for more than dry positional play."

And in his chess column in the general circulation magazine, Stern, Manfred Mädler printed one of Diemer's games and observed that "With his Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, Emil Josef Diemer built his own monument in his own lifetime."

We have reviewed Diemer's tournament successes in previous issues and won't repeat that here. Readers may wish to revisit Gunter Müller's A Life for Chess and my The Beginning of His Best Year in Volume III, Number 3. In this issue we include an article by Diemer himself, featuring victories over a number of strong players, several of whom were, or later became, international masters.

As Mädler observed, Diemer simply loved chess too much to do anything else. He became a professional player as a young man, and struggled his entire life on a minimal existence scraped together from his writings, lectures, exhibitions and the charity of friends and supporters.

For perhaps the last quarter-century of his life, he lived in an altersheim, what we would probably call a nursing home, in the village of Fußbach. He often held court in a small gasthaus across the street from the home.

In the late 1970s I had the pleasure of spending several afternoons over a chessboard with him there, in the gasthaus Rebstock. One could not be long in his presence without sensing the strength of his personality and his unbridled optimism and passion for chess.

Diemer's eccentric preoccupation with interpreting the past and foretelling the future is well known. Thus it seems fitting that he and the chessplayer with whom his name will be forever linked, Blackmar, were born in the same month, May, and died in the same month, October. I'm sure he would have derived some special significance from that.

In the last decade of his life the old master's eyesight deteriorated so badly that he was unable to carry on the voluminous correspondence to which he was so accustomed. Although he still played on the top board for his chess club Umkirch, he had to do so with his nose on the chessboard - literally - to be able to see the pieces. A German player once said that "as soon as his eyesight has vanished and he can no longer play chess, he will die. He cannot live without chess."

In truth, he will live. After many of today's grandmasters and technicians are long forgotten, after Schach Echo is no more than crumbling yellowed paper in dusty and unattended archives, Emil Josef Diemer's name will endure in his beloved gambit, and his romantic, heroic spirit will abide in the hearts of all chessplayers who play the game vom ersten Zug an auf Matt!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

From the Dutch to the BDG

One chess blog that is high on my reading list is IM Mark Ginsburg's Personal Chess History. Yesterday, in a post about the Manhattan CC 1990 International he reviewed a game he won in round one of that tournament (Mark Ginsburg - Alexander Fishbein). It was a Dutch Defense which he called the "4. Bf4 gambit line," and began with 1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4!? dxe4 (diagram) 4. Bf4. "Just another weird anti-Dutch gambit, not allowing 4. f3? e5!," noted Ginsburg.
After 3...dxe4
Blackmar-Diemer Gambit players will recognize this as a position that can also result from the normal BDG sequence 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 when Black plays to hold the e4 pawn with 3...f5. Diemer called this line in the BDG the Pöhlmann Defense, after one of his correspondence opponents. When I first began to play the BDG I thought this was a pretty lame defense--until I saw how strong players handled the same line in the Dutch. But if Black is a little careless, White can still get some quick wins. (When is that not true?) Here are a couple of examples. White is a Hungarian player who also plays the BDG now and then. Meszaros,Guyla - Weteschnik Kecskemet, 1994 Dutch Defense [A80} BDG, Pöhlmann Defense by transposition 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Bf4 e6 5.f3 Nf6 6.fxe4 fxe4 7.Bc4 Bb4?!
7...Bd6 Correct--Meszaros.
8.Nge2 0-0 9.0-0 Bxc3? 10.Nxc3 Nd5 11.Nxd5 exd5
12.Bxc7! Qg5
12...Rxf1+ was better.; 12...Qxc7?? 13.Bxd5+ Rf7 14.Qh5 (Or 14.Rxf7 )
13.Rxf8+ Kxf8 14.Qe2 Be6
14...dxc4? 15.Rf1+ Ke7 16.Qxe4+ Be6 17.Qxb7+-
15...Ke7 16.h4 Qh6 17.Bf4 Qg6 18.Bg5+
16.Qxe4! 1-0 Just for fun, another miniature: Meszaros,Guyla - Kriszany IM Bern, blitz, 1994 Dutch Defense [A80} BDG, Pöhlmann Defense by transposition 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Bf4 g6 5.Be5 Nf6 6.f3 Nbd7 7.Nb5! Nxe5 8.dxe5 Nd7 9.e6 Ne5 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.0-0-0+ 1-0

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Friends Armand, Emil, and Andy—especially Andy

My tribute to Anders Tejler (April 13, 1920 - December 25, 2001) which was printed in Virginia Chess, Number 2, 2002 ...

In 1976, at a tournament in Atlanta, I hap­pened across a Chess Digest booklet and discovered a chess opening and a gentle­man that were both destined to become lifelong friends. The opening was the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. The gentleman was Anders Tejler.

Between rounds of that Atlanta Swiss I studied Andy’s little book and alternately confused myself and any available skittles opponent with my newly­ discovered weapon. When Andy’s column appeared shortly thereafter in the American Postal Chess Tournaments News Bulletin I knew further resistance was futile. I wrote him and we began a correspondence that continued off and on over three decades.

Andy loved chess, correspondence chess, and just plain correspondence. I don’t know which he en­joyed the most. He came to chess a bit late. He was 14 before he learned the game from his fa­ther. And it was not until his service in the US Coast Guard in World War II that he discovered the Correspondence Chess League of America, and succumbed to the lure of that form of the game.

In 1954 Andy met Nikolajs Kampars in a CCLA correspondence section. “Nick trounced me roy­ally with a BDG,” he wrote. “This encounter led to a long correspondence, which lasted until Nick’s untimely death in August 1972.” From 1962 to 1967 he assisted Kampars in writing his BDG newsletter (first Blackmar Diemer Gambit and then Opening Adventures). Andy then worked with Nick to put together the Chess Digest booklets on specific BDG variations. From 1970 to 1973 his column on the BDG appeared in Chess Digest magazine Later Andy served Virginia chess as editor of and contributor to its newsletter, and as vice president of its federation.

From the beginning of our correspondence 35 years ago Andy stimulated and encouraged my in­terest in the BDG, generously sharing his ideas and material, including games and original letters from Diemer, Kampars, and others. More than any other person or event, Andy’s influence was re­sponsible for my little magazine, BDG World. Its model was admittedly Opening Adventures, and through Andy I have always felt a kinship and continuity with that paper. Although we corre­sponded for over three decades, and collaborated on a small book of his friend David Gedult’s BDGs, we never met face to face.

Andy once wrote me that “there is room in chess journalism for other than the analyst.” He never claimed to be one, and made that clear in the in­troductions to the Chess Digest booklets he wrote with Kampars. His approach was that of a true lover of the game, a fan. “For so we must count those who play and enjoy the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: the true fans of chess, who play not for rating points or tournament glory, but for the thrill of a good fight, the adventure of an exciting game, the once-in-a-lifetime ecstasy of pulling off an im­mortal mating combination.” (Euwe Defense, Chess Enterprises, 1979).

From one fan to another, Andy, many thanks. Play on, old friend—as I know you will, for that immortal combination yet beckons.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Diemer and Philately

As a boy I collected United States stamps. My best friend's dad was a serious collector who passed along many of his extras to his son, who shared with me. For several years I was also serious about the hobby, but over time it met the fate of many childhood pursuits and was overrun by other interests. At the time I had no idea of the popularity of chess and chessplayers as a subject for stamps. Recently I came across an Austrian stamp honoring Diemer. I presume it's authentic, but since I've only seen it on the internet, I wouldn't say for sure.
At any rate, Diemer certainly played in several Strasbourg Opens, as Strasbourg was only 50 kilometers or so from his home in Fussbach. I don't think he did that well in 1978, when he was within a few months of his 70th birthday. However, here is a successful game from Strasbourg 1975. I suspect his opponent may have been Jorge Cuadras Avellana, a Spanish master born in 1950 whose current FIDE rating is 2337. Diemer,E. J. - Cuadras,J. Strasbourg, 1975 [A45] [Europe Echecs 197/May 75] 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4
Now 4.Nc3 would produce the standard BDG position, but Diemer goes a different way.
4.fxe4 Nxe4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.0-0 e6 8.Nc3 Be7 9.Kh1 0-0 10.Be3 Nbd7 11.Qe1 Nd5 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.Qg3 Nf6 14.Qh4 Bxf3 15.gxf3 Re8 16.Bg5 g6 17.Rae1 Kg7 18.Qh6+ Kh8 19.f4 Ng8 20.Qh4 f5 21.Re5 Bxg5 22.fxg5 Rxe5 23.dxe5 Ne7 24.Qg3 Qg8
25.e6!! Rc8
25...Qxe6? 26.Re1 Qd7 27.Qe5+
26.h4 Qg7 27.c3 d4 28.c4 Nc6 29.Re1 Re8 30.h5 Re7 31.b4 Nxb4 32.h6 Qf8 33.Qe5+ Kg8 34.Qxd4 Nc6 35.Qf6!? Qd8?
This looks reasonable, but it is actually about the only move that allows White's next to succeed.
36.Bxf5! gxf5?
White was now winning on just about anything else. This just ends the pain quickly.
37.g6 Qd4
Black had no defense left.
38.Qf7+! 1-0

Friday, October 3, 2008

Georg Studier & The Rasa-Studier Gambit

Georg Studier's name is linked with at least two 1ines in the BDG complex. The most important is certainly the Studier Attack against the Bogoljubov Defense. A lesser known line is the Rasa-Studier Gambit. The following example appeared in Kampars’ Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, September 1962, with notes from the front side of the hyphen, Robert A. Rasa. Studier,G - Focke 0354 corr Germany, 1961 Rasa-Studier Gambit [C11] Game 0354 in BDG World 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 d5 4.Be3
This is the identifying move of this gambit, which was introduced at about the same time by Rasa in New Zealand and Studier in Germany.
4...Bb4 5.f3 c5 6.e5 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Nfd7 8.f4 Nc6 9.Nf3 Qa5 10.Qd2 0-0 11.Bd3 c4 12.Be2 Nb6 13.0-0 Na4
Black plays to win a pawn while his Kingside is lightly defended.
14.Qe1 Nxc3 15.Bd2 Nxe2+ 16.Qxe2 Qd8 17.c3 Ne7 18.Ng5 h6 19.Qh5!? f5!
On 19...hxg5? 20.fxg5 Black would have to give up material to prevent mate along the h-file.
20.Nf3 Bd7 21.Kh1 b5 22.Rg1 Be8 23.Qh3 Bg6 24.g4 Qe8 25.g5 h5 26.Bc1 Nc8 27.Nh4 Kh7 28.Ba3 Rf7?
Here Rasa commented: "Black has a poor choice between Rg8 and Rf7. The text turns out to be the beginning of the end, but who could have foreseen that at this stage?"
29.Nxg6 Kxg6 30.Rg3 a5?
31.Qxh5+! Kxh5 32.g6!
Rasa wrote that Studier was under the impression that 32...Ne7 followed by Nxg6 would force a draw, but this was refuted by a New Zealander, W. Petrie, who gave 32...Ne7 33.Rag1 Nxg6 (33...Kh4 , however, still gives Black a chance to draw: 34.gxf7 Qxf7--tvp) 34.Rh3+ Nh4 35.Rg5+ and mate on the next move.
33.Rag1 Kh4 34.Rf3 Ne7 35.Rgg3 1-0.
35.Rgg3 Nxg6 36.Rh3+ Kg4 37.Rfg3+ (37.Bc1 also mates.) 37...Kxf4 38.Bc1+ Ke4 39.Re3+ Kf4 40.Ref3+ Ke4 41.Rf4+! Nxf4 42.Re3#
Update: Of course all of the above analysis was done without the aid of computers. It might be interesting to take the time to check it thoroughly with one today. I believe Black could survive after 19...hxg5, and also that White should get at most a draw after the Queen sac. "Twenty years ago we were doing things that don't work today because of computers. We used to bluff our way through games, but today our opponents analyse them with a computer and recognize in a split second what we were up to. Computers do not fall for tricks." GM Anand in a recent Spiegel interview, translated at

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Georg Studier

In BDG World 20, Oct-Dec 1985, as one in a series on members of the Blackmar Gemeinde, Niels Jørgen Jensen presented the following article on a longtime friend of Diemer, Georg Studier. Any chessplayer introducing himself to the BDG will very soon come across the name Georg Studier. As Diemer’s longtime analysis partner, originator and advocate of basic BDG lines like the Studier Attack against the Bogoljubov Defense, author of the most objective—you may say scientific—volume (on the Gunderam Defense) of the German BDG series, Studier is one of the key figures in the history of the BDG.
At the age of sixteen, Georg Studier got into tournament chess. It was in 1945, just after World War II. He was taught by the old players: strategy, positional play, etc. Tactics, not to speak of gambits, were neglected concepts in those circles. This, perhaps, is why Studier has always been the "positional" BDG player, in contrast to the “wild” Diemer. During his education as a building engineer, Studier did not play chess, so the next important event is his participation in the championship of the south German town of Ratstatt in 1954. In a letter to me Studier describes that event:
“Was it the new face or the fact that I had come in third in the tournament that caused Diemer to demonstrate his BDG to me with great energy? Nevertheless, for several weeks my answer to Diemer was that White with this pawn sacrifice could expect no advantage. Today this statement sounds strange, but I was determined to prove it to him. However, at that time I did not know whom I was dealing with. We must remember that at that time Diemer was at the very top level of his chess career. He then showed me how quickly Black can get into trouble, and little by little I was convinced. From then on I played only the BDG. “In the years 1954-58 we would meet several hours twice a week, when we spent the time analyzing the gambit. Thirty years ago the foundation stones were laid for what today is fundamental knowledge of every BDG player. “Another interesting incident from those years was a correspondence match with Diemer which I won 3:5, and thereby proved the unsoundness of the ‘Vorpostenvariente’ (5...g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.Ne5?!) by means of 7.-..0-0 8.Bg5 Nc6!', followed by .-..Bf5. At the same time I worked out another strategy to build up a White attack, namely 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe1."
After 1958, when Georg Studier had moved to Freiburg, he lost contact with Diemer, who himself had almost retired from chess through the years 1960-1970. Studier kept playing the BDG, winning the Freiburg city championship in 1960. But fortunately, this was not the end of the Studier-Diemer relationship.
“Suddenly one day Diemer and Stapelfeldt came to me, and over the next years we worked on how to meet Gunderam’s recommendation 5.Nxf3 Bf5. It was as a result of this work that I had my book published in 1980.” (Das moderne Blackrnar-Diemer Gambit, Band 3, Schachverlag Schmaus, Heidelberg).
In a letter to me Studier looks upon the history of the BDG as the succession of three different generations:
  • The first generation is now about eighty years old. These players were maintaining their points of view uncompromisingly: “Play the BDG and the mate will come automatically” or "The BDG is absolutely incorrect.”
  • The second generation has now reached the age of fifty. These players analyzed the variations without prejudice, thus building a bridge between the two poles of the first generation.
  • The third generation consists of players in their twenties. They are characterized by a thorough, scientific approach, an in-depth study of every tiny variation in order to reach stable conclusions.
Being a man in his late-fifties, and thus representing the second generation of BDG players, Georg Studier is still going strong. As to his future BDG aims, he writes:
“After preliminary and intermediate groups, the Second BDG World Tourney was concluded with two final rounds, in which I came in second in one of them, one point afterButze of East Germany. The “Superfinal” (including the first four of each final round) is yet to come." “Also, I would like to conclude my BDG writings properly. In front of me lies my manuscript for a 5.Nxf3 Bg4 volume, in which I also intend to include the very interesting defense 5.Nxf3 c6.”
I’m sure this last remark is of great interest to all BDG World readers, especially since Gunderam's contribution from July 1983 (Volume I, Number 7) has remained uncontradicted ever since. And so you see, Georg Studier is not just a second generation BDG player, but has his firm position established in the past, the present, and the future of the BDG.
# # #
Update: Since this article was published in 1985, Studier produced the definitive Diemer biography, Emil Joseph Diemer, ein Leben für das Schach im Spiegel seiner Zeit. Dresden 1996. ISBN 3-925691-18-9, which is a subject for future posts. To my knowledge, however, his manuscript on 5.Nxf3 Bg4, the Teichmann Defense to the BDG, has not been published.